The Facts: Green Cards for Driving in Europe

Green Card for Driving in Europe

With Brexit done and dusted, travel to the EU now looks a little different for motorhome, touring caravan and campervan owners. As well as the usual rig checks, kit preparation and route planning, since 1 January 2021 you need to add ‘get a Green Card’ to your pre-road-trip checklist. But what even is a Green Card? And how do you get hold of one? Wrapper answers those all-important questions, and more…

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that, as of 1st January 2021, you need to carry whenever you’re driving in Europe.

It’s a physical document that proves you are insured to drive, and you are legally required to carry one, along with proof of your normal motorhome, campervan, touring caravan and/or vehicle insurance, if you plan on driving to or within the EU.

You may be asked to present your Green Card, along with your driving licence and other insurance documents, any time you drive across a border within the EU, including between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, or when driving between EU and EEA countries. You will also be asked to present your Green Card if you are involved in an accident, or if you are stopped by police in a random spot check.

If you are caught driving in Europe without a Green Card, you could face a hefty fine and your vehicle may be seized.

As a motorhome owner, be aware that if you are towing a trailer or other vehicle, you are likely to need a separate Green Card to cover it. 

Where do I need a Green Card?

You’ll need a Green Card whenever you cross the English Channel in your motorhome. As well as being a legal requirement when driving within the EU, you’ll need a Green Card for travel within:

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Serbia
  • Andorra

Do I need anything else for driving in the EU?

In addition to your Green Card, you’ll need to carry your usual proof of motor insurance, as well as your driving licence and the vehicle’s log book (V5C).

Depending on where your travels are going to take you, you may also require an international driving permit (IDP), so make sure you know your route in full before you set off.

You won’t usually need an IDP to visit and drive within the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein, but you may need one to drive in certain countries if you have a paper driving licence or one that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

Check out the government’s website for full details of IDP requirements.

How do I get a Green Card?

You’ll need to apply for a Green Card from your motor insurance provider, who will send it to you through the post. It can take up to six weeks for your Green Card to arrive, so make sure you apply for it well ahead of your planned departure date – you really don’t want to be turned back at the first border you hit.

Some insurers might offer to send you a digital version of your Green Card, and of course this should be a much quicker option. Be aware, however, that you’ll still need to present it as a paper document when you’re travelling, so you’ll need to print it out. When printing your digital Green Card, make sure:

  • It is printed in high quality
  • It is printed double-sided, if necessary
  • It is printed on good-quality paper, so the ink doesn’t bleed
  • All details and images are clear and legible

Be aware that if you bought your insurance through a comparison website, you will need to apply directly to your insurer for a Green Card – comparison websites are unable to provide you with one.

What information will I need to provide?

In order to issue you with an appropriate Green Card (or cards), your insurance provider will need to know your name, policy number, travel dates and whether you’ll be towing a caravan, trailer or other vehicle. With this information, they will be able to provide you with the correct number of Green Cards to cover you for the right amount of time.

How long can I travel on my Green Card for?

A Green Card will normally cover you for travel within the EU for up to 15 days. As a motorhome or touring caravan owner, this may not be enough for your planned road-trip and you will need to contact your insurance provider to see if they can extend it.

How many vehicles will my Green Card cover?

Each Green Card covers one vehicle, caravan or trailer, even if you have multiple vehicles or rigs insured on a single policy. That means you’ll need a Green Card each for:

  • The vehicle you are driving
  • Any vehicles you are towing
  • Any caravans or trailers you are towing

You will also need additional Green Cards if more than one insurance policy covers the duration of your trip, i.e. if your policy is due to renew while you are away, you will need one Green Card for your expiring policy and another for your new policy.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, it’s more important than ever to have the right insurance in place whenever you travel to and within Europe. And we’re not just talking about having adequate vehicle cover. Given the changes to the relationship between the UK and countries within the EU, it is important to ensure you have insurance in place to cover you for the cost of any medical treatment you might need while you’re away, as well as
other potentially expensive losses such as emergency repatriation to the UK, the loss or theft of your personal belongings, and the cancellation of any scheduled trips.

Holidays are all about escaping the pressures of daily life – give yourself complete peace of mind and make sure you’re covered for every eventuality.

Your Green Card, all Wrapped up

If you’re insured with Wrapper and are planning a European adventure, simply log into your portal and request your Green Card and we’ll get you covered. All our Motorhome, Campervan and Touring Caravan insurance policies include European cover as standard.